CLOUDS OF PARIS

After New York and its skyscrapers in the clouds, let's focus on Paris and talk clouds and views. This time, we asked Mathieu Lebreton, 28, Parisian and always about to leave, to share his best views and panoramas with us. Mathieu is one of our favourite French bloggers and we follow his evolution faithfully on www.daaamn.com. Nine years ago, he launched Materialiste.com, trying to open a new dialogue on menswear fashion with men of his generation and five years ago, he started a digital agency : Ykone, working with fashion brands. Two activities he decided to quit recently as he decided to make his dream a reality, opening a store in Florida and working more closely with his girlfriend Betty, also know as the editor of leblogdebetty.com!

 

"When I’m not traveling, my favorite thing to do is play tourist in my own city. Thankfully, Paris is seemingly the most beautiful city in the world... I love to stroll about taking in the charms of the French capital with my camera (or phone) at hand. A relatively low-rise cityscape leaves plenty of room for sky and clouds in my pictures. Here are just some of the inspiring places that send me into a reverie of gazing up at the heavens...

 

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1. Louvre pyramid. In a way it’s a marriage between Asia and France, and that’s my roots (and KENZO’s too!). I spend a lot of time here, but not necessarily looking at the artwork. The Square Courtyard and fountain and Napoleon Courtyard fascinate tourists and locals alike, and my eyes never tire of admiring the clouds reflected in the glass faces of the pyramid.

 

2. Ambling a little further along the Right Bank, you can’t miss the majestic Grand Palais. The incredible light filtered through the awe-inspiring glass roof gives a unique character to the art exhibits often hosted here, that is when the venue isn’t serving as a fashion show runway, movie theater or ice rink! I learned not so long ago that the metal frame of the roof overhead weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower... Day or night, don’t forget to look up! 

 

3. Speaking of the eternally popular Eiffel Tower, without a doubt the finest view of it and other landmarks is to be had from the terrace of the Shangri-La Hotel. Sure, you have to book the fanciest suite in the palace, but what a view! 

A more accessible alternative is Aile Jardin, where I love to sip a drink while contemplating the heavens, or the sky painted on the ceiling of the hotel pool...

 

4. When it comes to beautifully painted skies, the Château de Versailles can’t be beaten. The ceilings add an even loftier dimension to these sumptuous surroundings. 

I don’t go there a lot but when I do I stay for hours, oblivious to other visitors. Late in the day the raking light is superb; I’ve been witness to an amazing pink sky scattered with clouds.

5. Observatoire de Paris is the best place to go for all things sky-related: clouds and stars (link to constellation form on the site). Although brave souls prefer to venture outside the city to the Meudon observatory, I’m fond of this sleepy neighborhood teeming with star gazers drawn to the giant telescope beneath the cupola. I love to sit in the park outside and dreamily contemplate the heavens – the setting reminds me of the adventures of Tintin I read as a child.

6. Le Georges is the famous Costes-designed rooftop restaurant in the Centre Pompidou. Hardly a well-kept secret, but still one of my favorite places to watch the sun go down. If there’s any doubt in your mind as to the beauty of Paris, you’ll fall in love with the city seen from above. These sweeping, almost 360° vistas are not to be missed.

7. A fashionable spot for those in the know is 39V restaurant on Avenue George V, if you can find the entrance buried in Rue Quentin-Bauchart. The lovely terrace is bedecked with fragrant herbs and tables filled with diner clients in rolled-up shirt sleeves who, like me, have come to bask in the sunshine and blue skies. 

8. Le Meurice Hotel has been treated to a facelift by Philippe Starck and his daughter. I usually retreat to the cozy confines of Bar 228. Not content with serving the world’s best burger (as proclaimed by The New York Times) and a house cocktail to die for, the Bellini, I take the time to drink up the night sky painted on the ceiling...

9. Last up is the latest to open. Nüba restaurant alighted not so long ago in designer district Cité de la Mode. Hip foodies and Kenzo sweatshirts fill the 700 m2 (7,535 ft2) terrace in equal measures. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, but the setting and views of the sky and clouds reflected in the surrounding buildings can be savored right through to 6 am".